Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Dress!

So yesterday's APW post reminded me that A) I haven't posted in ages and B) I have a dress!

First off, a note about The Dress vs. a dress. As much fun as it is to dream up amazing all-white couture looks, and as likely as it is that this will be the only time in the rest of my life I wear something as formal as a full-length gown, this dress (ahem, in its current form, but more on that later) is one I'll wear for one day in my life. Yes, there will be many pictures of me in it, and some will probably be some of the best pictures of me ever (oh god I hope!), but it's one dress for one day. Part of me wishes I could spend the money on an amazing designer cocktail dress instead, as that's something I'd be able to wear over and over (and accessorize in multiple ways!)

But it's not, and it is my wedding after all, and the dress appointment was my best opportunity to see my two best friends, who I moved across the country from a year ago, in months, and hell, shopping is fun! And so, I made an appointment at the J. Crew bridal boutique in the Upper East Side of New York City. And I invited my two best friends and my mom, who really is my third best friend anyway.

My mom has decent sense of fashion and a better sense of what looks good on a person, but is also the type to reach for the tissues when a TV commercial gets too sappy, so I couldn't be sure she'd be able to see well enough to critique my choices. T loves absolutely everything and everyone, and doesn't have a critical bone in her body. K is pretty much the most enthusiastic person you'll ever meet. It wasn't until A (my fiance, whom I want to surprise on The Day with The Dress and The Overall Bridal Look) brought it up that I realized that, while shopping with this group would be a fantastic reunion, I hadn't exactly picked a group that would let me know how a dress made my ass look.

Luckily, K's boyfriend realized the same thing and they found another friend of hers to be her constructive criticism coach. All fall she practiced her "while the bodice of that is nice, it it's unflattering in the hips" and her "I think the other dress accentuated your waist better than this one." I'd probably have been fine with "Dude, your ass looks like it's the size of Alaska in that thing" and "Are you trying to look pregnant?" There will be enough pictures of me in this thing that tough love is entirely called-for.

And so, early on a Thursday in December, I made my way to Penn Station to meet my mom's train in from Boston, and we headed up to the first coffee shop we found on Madison Avenue. Now, J. Crew is known for it's beautiful but affordable wedding gowns. Little did we know, the rest of Madison Ave does not know the meaning of "affordable." Ok, I should have known, but at the same time, this is New York and I expect to see at least a Starbucks on every other corner. Instead, we found a coffee shop that came complete with menus and table service. Oh well, with luck I'd only be doing this once, I could splurge on a couple of $9 lattes.

Once the appointed time rolled around, we headed over to the shop. We got our own room, some sparkly water, and a personal shopper to wait on us hand and food. Ok, I've been watching Say Yes To The Dress, and I know you're asking "what about the champagne and the pedestal and the personal dress-putter-onner?" And yes, it would have been nice to have some champagne (or mimosas? mmm mimosas...) at 10am with my best friends, but I still felt pretty damn taken care of.

And you know what? It was so easy. I told the woman my size, budget, and the dress I'd picked online, and she got everything they had in my budget, almost all of it in my size. There was no "this is twice what you want to spend but I thought I'd just see how you like the style" hard-selling. No comments about losing weight or wearing a push-up bra or otherwise trying to look unlike myself just to be prettier on my Big Day. Just helpful dress-gathering and sparkly-water-ordering.

When all was said and done, I walked away with this dress:

... And now it's on sale for half as much as I paid. I wonder if there's anything I can do about that from the other side of the country... Anyhoo, it was delivered to my door within a week, and now hangs in my closet waiting to be taken to a tailor of my choice (the shop has recommendations, too) for a nip and a tuck there, because apparently my boobs are not even big enough for the already-flat J. Crew fit. But I digress.

And after the wedding, I fully plan to have it hemmed and dyed so I can wear it again and again. Yay!

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